Saturday, July 30, 2011

Weird comment of the day

Over at the Washington Post, there is a rather pathetic article entitled "Why are we in this debt fix? It’s the elderly, stupid." In response, a commenter agrees with this "angel of mercy" with the following:

Thank you Mr. Samuelson for stating flatly what I have believed for many years: seniors are eating the seed corn of the future and there is no end in sight. I am 54 years old and have made a commitment not to live longer than 70. I will work as long as I can and have no desire to retire at all. We all know that the elderly are by far the wealthiest group of Americans and yet their demands on current and future generations are insatiable: they want to retire earlier and the expect more assist...See More
7/29/2011 8:37:59 AM EDT

Some of the responses to this weird comment asked the same question I had. How is he going to carry out his "commitment" not to live longer than 70? It's an odd thing to say and I wonder if he is really thinking through what he is saying? It's easy to say you will do something rash like this when you are not actually 70 but I wonder when the time comes what his thought process will be? And why should anyone else want such a depressing end? I know people who are 70 who can run circles around younger people, why should they be the target of such blatant prejudice and hate?


Blogger Quasimodo said...

Another issue for many people is the commitment "to work as long as I can." If you are not self employed - as most people are not - your boss might boot you out the door. For many, it is extremely difficult to find work after 55 or 60. So, is that when the commitment not to live past 70 kicks in? When the boss decides to let you go, you off yourself?

8:27 AM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger Unknown said...

It's the same blind thinking that automatically believes those richer *need* to be taxed more (than whatever they're paying at the moment).

In other words, a target not them.

As for the commenter, unless you know the person yourself, who's to say the writer isn't twenty?

10:36 AM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger Eric said...

Why is there an automatic assumption that all older people are to be cared for by younger people? You'd think the idea of self-sufficiency had never occurred to the 54 year old who has made this lame vow to die at 70. I suspect he or she will be a public burden despite the "promise."

10:45 AM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

People, like Obama, use promises of money for seniors to woo their votes. He uses scare tactics of no Social Security check to woo their support for his failing plans. Seniors aren't the problem, how government is run is the problem.

The commenter has mental problems and a complete lack of clear vision. I'm 60 and plan to work as long as possible too. When I no longer work for someone else, I plan to farm or do some sort of other profitable endeavor.

I wonder why the commenter isn't concerned about those non-seniors that don't work? Across the street from where I work is a 12 story apartment building mostly full of working age people that don't. I rarely see anyone who looks disabled coming out of that building, either.

Why isn't he concerned about people like this woman who became momentarily famous after Hurricane Karina, who had been on the government dole for 57 of her 58 years and had a 60" flat screen TV in her subsidized apartment? I can't afford a 60" TV in my house and I've worked all my life and earn above the national average.

10:51 AM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

PLUS - where's the respect of the elders who worked and helped create, preserve and protect our society and country? For centuries, many cultures highly respected the elders. Now is seems, more and more, elders are being seen as a burden, dead weight, and otherwise undesirable. A sad, scary trend.

10:54 AM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger AmericanWoman said...

I am the same age as that commenter. I'm sure he now thinks that 70 is long enough to live. Heck, I use to think 50 year olds were ancient. While I agree that some touch changes have to be made, this demonizing of seniors is uncalled for. It's age warfare instead of class warfare. And it's disgusting.

11:07 AM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger Comment Monster said...

uh...y'all just got trick-trolled.

Back in the day, I used to advocate using the elderly for medical experiments. That was long before the Internet. You would be surprised (well, ya'll probably wouldn't) how many impassioned, prolonged arguments I got into about it. After a while, I started to convince myself.

12:17 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger Don said...

Maybe, but there ARE people like that out there. Most likely he'll either ignore this when he gets into his later 60s, or, if he's exceptionally honest, he'll look back and have a laugh at how silly he was when he was a young pup of 54.

12:54 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger Southern Man said...

I plan to live a lot longer than seventy. I also plan to retire with no debt and a retirement portfolio sufficient to service my (hopefully modest) needs. If SS checks are still around I'll spend 'em on the grandkids.

1:09 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger Jason said...

Bottom line, programs for the elderly are going to bankrupt the country. There are simply too many of the non-working old for the working young to support, and the ratio keeps getting more and more burdensome. Originally the average man did not live long enough to receive social security. And many of the expensive medical advances available to us now simply didn't exist. If you got seriously sick, you died.

The situation we have now was never intended, is not sustainable, and while it sounds cruel to say, "Work until you die", that's no worse than the circumstances that prevailed less than one human lifetime ago.

And to those technological cornucopians who claim that technology will solve all our problems "any day now", today is the day. The costs are here, now. If you have some magical technology that will make ongoing medical care for years as cheap as the one-time expense of a pine box, now would be the ideal time to introduce it. Let's see it. Put up or shut up.

1:52 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

We could introduce a federally subsidized extreme sports program for seniors. Base jumping for granny, wing suit jumping and bungee jumping for paw-paw.

Then make sure the equipment is government-supplied.

Or just push them off on an ice floe.

2:47 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger Floyd said...

Hitler called them "bread gobblers" didn't he?

Unwanted babies, unwanted old people -- let's just kill them all! Just watch out for that new green food supplement!

2:51 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger ken in tx said...

This did not look like a serious comment to me. I thought it was sarcastic.

3:01 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger jeff said...

If he was really serious, he would commit to not live beyond 55.

3:21 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger Rick said...

When the government picks the winners and the losers, you get group warfare as the problem becomes the winners in the group you don't like.

Social Security and Medicare are this to the max. It would be wonderful if the caring liberals would realize the consequences of their policies.

3:22 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger Sebastian said...

How is he going to carry out his "commitment" not to live longer than 70?

Well, if it were me, and I was lucky enough to be one of those 70 year olds who can run rings around young people, I'd take up skydiving, cave diving, and a whole lot of other hobbies that look like a lot of fun, but are highly hazardous. Take up enough dangerous and exiting hobbies, the law of averages will you get eventually. If not? Well, you'll live an exciting life.

3:30 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger Eric Jablow said...

Somebody has been reading "Boomsday" by Christopher Buckley. That is supposed to be a satire, you know.

3:37 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger Micha Elyi said...

PLUS - where's the respect of the elders who worked and helped create, preserve and protect our society and country?-DADvocate

That respect has been frittered away since about the time millions of the now-elderly began acting as if they assumed they could all spend their later years cashing gummint checks paid for by taxes on other people's kids - especially the kids of those other people with the unfashionably large families.

(I assume your question was rhetorical, Mr. DADvocate, because someone like yourself with considerable knowledge of the increasingly widespread practice among U.S. females of marrying themselves to the gummint almost certainly knew the answer to your question already.)

3:43 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger Micha Elyi said...

How is he going to carry out his "commitment" not to live longer than 70?

* Enjoy eating unhealthy foods & die of complications from obesity.
* Grimly eat according to gov't dietary guidelines & die of complications from obesity.

(Choose only one answer.)

3:53 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger DRJ said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:05 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger DRJ said...

This post makes me think about what makes us want to live longer, especially as we reach 70 and face big changes in our lives. I'm almost 60 and, to me, 70 represents retirement age and almost certain health issues (or at least more aches and pains), and those will be significant lifestyle changes.

Most of us soldier on because we don't want to leave our spouses and families. In addition, some religions condemn suicide and require adherents to embrace life. But if you don't have these things to motivate you, maybe it's easier to consider an expiration date on life when faced with big changes.

4:05 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger ed said...


Renew! Renew! Hope & Change!


4:16 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger ed said...

And can I say having to sign up for a Blogger account in order to comment here is a bit odd?

4:17 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger wildswan said...

There are things that could be done which would prevent SS from bankrupting the system - like sharply raising the age at which full benefits kick in. In Wisconsin Governor Walker has shown how a deficit of 3 billion can become a surplus if the unions are kept out of the process and if government regulations are pruned back. The same could happen in the US it would mean a fight - as was seen in Wisconsin. But worse. But it could be done if Republicans win the fight. If Dems win - I don't know what will happen except a crash preceded and followed by demagoging. Maybe we will all die at whatever age we are.

4:31 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger Zorro said...

Stick 'em all on an ice floe with a couple AGW polar bears and watch the fun.

No more grandma/gramps, the polar bears get a tasty snack, and the debt crisis resolves itself!

Pay. Per. View.

5:12 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger Fat Man said...

Dear Dr. Smith:

Why did you label the Samuelson article "pathetic"? I thought, that it was thoughtful, and completely consistent with things he has written over the many years that he has written for the Post.

5:41 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger Punditarian said...

"How is he going to carry out his "commitment" not to live longer than 70?"

One way would be to emulate the 78-year-old George Eastman who wrote "My work is done. Why wait?" before shooting himself.

But if present trends continue, there'll be no need for the commenter to do anything himself.

Or maybe you haven't seen "Soylent Green."

5:49 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger RichardS said...

This was the theme of Chris Buckley's Boomsday.

6:57 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger Doom said...

He sort of reminds me of the women in Britain, a group that had their ovaries removed or some such drivel, in order that they not "pollute" the world. If they go that far, I should think they also have their whole organ removed so as not to be a draw for a functional mate.

I think, when I hear of these types of people, of the ones who committed suicide when "The War of the Worlds" was radiocast. These poor sods took portents and insinuations too far, in that case (and probably these new ones) false ones.

I know, as a very ill man, you will have to take my life. I won't just hand it over (if too I won't let them do experimental procedures). I will die naturally and whole, but my goal is to kick around as long as I do and well as I can.

Actually, my last fiancee had some notions of working until she couldn't then going out and dieing (committing suicide) in a forest. I had to laugh, but because I know her. She couldn't take it and is better at survival than she thinks. And that death ain't easy and she's a softy. I know suicide (tried it earlier on, hard core). She doesn't have what it takes. Plus, I told her as long as I'm alive she has a place to room. Hate, her, love her, whatever, she's a pal now.

But the anger at the older generation? Go figure. They ARE the ones who created this mess. They chose the path of no pain and we have an out-of-control socialism and a quota president who can't handle himself, let alone a nation, for that. But you don't just kill em'. Idiots.

8:55 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger Kim said...

"For many, it is extremely difficult to find work after 55 or 60... When the boss decides to let you go, you off yourself?"

Sure; after offing the damn boss first.

Jokes aside, if the youngins want to start some kind of Final Solution for the older generation, they're welcome. Welcome to try, that is. That's one of the advantages of being well-armed, and cranky.

So use us for target practice, by all means -- just as long as we can shoot back. That way, we can thin the herd for subsequent generations.

If we're going to get all cold-blooded about it, let's really get cold-blooded.

My guess is that the Snowflake Generation doesn't have the balls.

10:19 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger Charlie Martin said...

I think his idea is a marvelous one, to which I can only say "you first."

My only issue is a certain regret that he's probably too late to eliminate himself from the gene pool.

10:43 PM, July 30, 2011  
Blogger AlanKH said...

Not one mention of Logan's Run?

12:37 AM, July 31, 2011  
Blogger Bob's Blog said...

Hi Helen,
Thanks once again for writing about something that interests me. I will be 71 next month, work full time, homeschool three kids, love gardening, and enjoy life immensely.

12:53 AM, July 31, 2011  
Blogger Zorro said...

Mention #1 of Logan's Run made by Alan.

4:44 AM, July 31, 2011  
Blogger Emery Calame said...

Hmmm. Logan's Run here we come. Renew!

6:48 AM, July 31, 2011  
Blogger MarkD said...

Why are we in this debt fix? It isn't just the elderly, it's all the takers.

It's the entire welfare state - which includes corporate welfare and agricultural subsidies and affirmative action and other non-monetary subsidies. It's much cheaper to buy a politician than to compete on your own merits and efforts. Politicians are cheap.

9:23 AM, July 31, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you put aside the political rhetoric embedded here, and turn to recent studies, you find that whereas previous generations believed that the Am Dream consisted of owning your own home, retirement money, etc the majority of people today say their main concern is having enough money to be able to retire someday--they no longer count in home ownership etc. In sum: expectations significantly lowered.

9:52 AM, July 31, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

In sum: expectations significantly lowered.

If you look at the size of starter/first homes 50 or more years ago, you'll find them significantly smaller than more recently. In many ways, the American Dream went rampant because our expectations went rampant. Lower expectations may be an adjustment to reality as much as hart times economically. Indeed, the hard times have been partially brought on by unreasonable expectations.

1:05 PM, July 31, 2011  
Blogger Larry J said...

But the anger at the older generation? Go figure. They ARE the ones who created this mess. They chose the path of no pain and we have an out-of-control socialism and a quota president who can't handle himself, let alone a nation, for that. But you don't just kill em'. Idiots.

I'm 54 and my mother is 83. She was a child when Social Security was created back in the mid 1930s. Yeah, she was an adult when Medicare was passed in the mid-1960s but it doesn't seem reasonable to blame her for the excesses of government.

Due to health issues, my wife is going to retire later this year. I'll probably work another 10-12 years or so. We've never trusted that Social Security will be there for us so we've been saving from retirement for well over 20 years. We have a pretty good nest-egg and by the time I retire, we should be able to get by nicely without Social Security. Medical coverage is a wildcard because of the mess government has made of it.

3:34 PM, July 31, 2011  
Blogger Roy said...

Confiscating money from retirees is wrong.

It is THEIR money! It's money that was confiscated from their weekly paychecks for 50 years and kept interest free.

Your real target is Tammy-Sue who gets welfare for her 2 trailer rats, and another one on the way. It's Rosita, who crossed the border to pop out her twin Anchor Babies. It's Dontrelle, with his 15 babymommas, who just knocked-up Laquisha, his 16th ghetto queen, who already has 8 other ghetto rats from 8 different daddies all of whom are living off of the government teat.

Your enemies are not the folks who actually worked in those things we used to call factories and had Uncle Sam grab a quarter of their paycheck in 1970 and kept it all this time interest free.

Demanding some kind of return on that *forced* investment might be a tad unrealistic given the state of the SS system today, but it is *not* unreasonable.

5:55 PM, July 31, 2011  
Blogger jabrwok said...

@Roy: "THEIR" money was spent long ago. The money they're getting now is MY money. Money that I could be using to pay down my mortgage or grow my IRA. My enemies are the people who think that they're entitled to steal from me because they were robbed by their parents' generation.

7:07 PM, July 31, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I certainly haven't spent my entire adult working life paying confiscatory taxes of all types to have it totally mismanaged by the government, to have people be able to vote in politicians perfectly willing to take even more from me, and those like me. Personally, I have managed my life as well as possible, having never collected a dime from our government in unemployment, welfare, etc. In other words, just like the overwhelming majority of those in our country.
In my opinion, our government lets us down in far too many ways. It is my belief that through all four years of high school a life management course should be taught. How to live within your means, regardless of the level, how to budget, balance a check book, plan for the future, understand the magic of compound interest, and how to learn to accept and understand a protracted reward. In the end, one is responsible for themselves in this country, no matter how you slice it. We have morphed into a society where it is easier to get something than it is to keep it. That's bass ackwards. Those who plan, and work their plan, seem to do alright. Those who are able (or just willing) to earn money are being turned into slaves. The rich aren't rich because the poor are poor.

8:24 PM, July 31, 2011  
Blogger Roy said...

Jason, that implies that "THEY" are not still paying the same taxes that you are. Most are.

8:51 PM, July 31, 2011  
Blogger Mirwalk said...

First some background on me. I am 27 years old so I of course see this from a younger perspective.

Yes they had the money taken from them. Yes the government spent it. But the way I see it, it is supposed to be a representative government. They allowed the politicians to take the money. They asked for the programs that spent the money and emptied the accounts. If that cash was set aside it wouldn't be near the issue is now.

The government handed out things to the citizens with that money, there were benefits they received due to it being spent. NO ONE robbed them of the funds, anyone who paid attention knew what was going on, but no one cared.

However for someone like me starting out, all I see is taxes and a system that will be dead before I get to the end to collect. It is nothing short of Robbing ME. I don't want the elderly to be killed but I think they should be able to take care of them selves.

I will echo the thoughts that a lot is wasted on people who don't want to work and those programs should be scaled back and kept from being abused.

9:37 PM, July 31, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Mirwalk - good points. Just remember, not all of us old folks didn't support those actions, we didn't ask for those programs, etc. For me, now age 60, most of it was foisted upon us by our parents, the supposedly greatest generation.

All attempts to change the inevitable march to where we are now was blocked by liberals, much the same way Obama is blocking meaningful change now. Give my back what I paid in at the return rate of the stock market during that time, and I'll be happy.

I feel for you and my children. My parents generation and my generation contained enough idiots that believed we could spend recklessly and everything would somehow magically work out. I hope we can change things enough to minimize the damage to your and the following generations. That's the hope and change I want.

11:29 PM, July 31, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The world population is to be kept at 500,000,000. The Georgia Guide Stones and Eric Holder say so.

7:40 AM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger Mirwalk said...

Most of the people who wanted to be responsible, I feel also prepared enough to take care of themselves. The real question is, who gets stuck with the pain?
Is it the elderly who didn't save enough? Is it the young who have their standard of living downgraded to pay of the elderly's benefits?

We all agree this is unsustainable and that it will crash. The real question is as it always has been, Who gets left holding the bag?

9:42 AM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger Master Doh-San said...

Let's put the blame for this mess squarely where it belongs: on the politicians who have been buying your votes with your own money, and the fools who vote for them.

As for the commenter, he's no doubt quite serious about quitting at 70. And he'll keep saying that right up until he's 69.

10:00 AM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

My mother will be 73 in a few weeks. She still works. She owns her own comapany, makes a lot of money.

I live next door. (We have two condos.) I moved back home when my father was dying of cancer to help her take care of him. Then I resigned from teaching to help her run the company. I promised my father on his deathbed that I would take care of her.

Despite all the work I do--research in the mornings, driving around in the afternoons, writing reports in the evenings--I find time to buy groceries and cook dinner. She only eats what I cook for her.

The thing is this. She took care of me when I was a baby. Now I have to take care of her when she's old. It's called family. I'll be here until she dies.

The problem with these entitlement programs is governmental. So, vote against every incumbment. Elect responsible people who are serious about solving the problem.

11:14 AM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

It is the takers as well as the liars in Congress who have spent money we did not have for 30 years. They spent Social Security after promising us they would not.


12:06 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger Xiaoding said...

I wish people would stop blamimg the "Liberals" for this kind of problem. Last time I looked, there were plenty of CONSERVATIVES around, and they let it happen, too.

Generations of conservatives abandoned this country, when it needed them most. They went out and "made money". Happy now? The Greeks had a word for these kind of people...IDIOTS.

"Greatest Generation", my ass. Greatest bunch of fools, and morons, is more like it!

Can anyone explain, why the US was even in, WWII? Sure, help our friends...but a smart people, would have mostly stayed out of that one. The Greatest Idiots, however, they obeyed. They were good at that. At war and at home.

The kids got to do better. Be smarter. Realize, most of your parents are the dumbest people alive. Be very careful, what advice you take.

7:43 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger Roy said...

Trey, it's been going on a lot longer than 30 years.

The accounting shenanigans that first started taking the SS trust money and dumping it into the general fund - replacing it with IOU's - first started in 1968 during the LBJ administration. (It was mainly a scheme to simultaneously fund both the war in Vietnam and his war on poverty programs.)

Here is the point where I would normally point out the party that controlled all three branches of the Federal Government in 1968. Except that the problem with that is that once the precedent was set, *both* parties took advantage of the practice down through the intervening years.

Whatever the solution turns out to be, my point still stands. The retirees are not the enemy. Robbed or not, they have paid their way. The enemy are all those people who are sucking the life blood out of this country without ever contributing anything.

10:06 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger holdfast said...

There is something to all this. Once upon a time, middle aged people might expect to inherit some money or a property when their elderly parents passed away. Now, with 30 years or more of retirement possible, all but the richest seniors are likely to expend their fortune on their upkeep, and if they do leave something, their "kids" will inherit it at age 70, well beyond the optimal time to be using it.

I'm not suggesting any "fix" but this is a trend that is locking up capital and making sure it is only spent on the medical and nursing home industries.

8:50 PM, August 02, 2011  

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